Congo: Accountings


November 25, 2020: Former President Joseph Kabila is continuing to undermine the current president, Felix Tshisekedi. Both men are supposed to be partners in a ruling coalition. Kabila, however, controls all of the key ministries and his supporters run the security forces. Kabila’s party controls parliament. Kabila’s supporters are publicly calling for Kabila to run for president in the next election. The election that put Tshisekedi was an accurate result of the widespread anti-Kabila attitudes. It was believed that Kabila would not give up power and he hasn’t.

November 23, 2020: Congolese militia leader and minerals trader Ntabo Ntaberi Sheka was sentenced to life in prison for war crimes and mass rape during a trial that lasted two years. He was also convicted to “sexual slavery” (smuggling captive women) and employing child soldiers. Sheka commanded the NDC (Nduma Defense of Congo) militia which operated in North Kivu province. In late July and early August of 2010 NDC militiamen raped some 400 people living in 13 North Kivu villages.

November 20, 2020: Burundi announced that beginning in January 2021 the UN’s special Burundi envoy will no longer be welcome. Burundi’s foreign ministry said that the special envoy’s Burundi office will be closed by the end of 2020. The UN criticizes Burundi’s ruling party for using violence and intimidation to maintain power. The government, however, contends that Burundi has achieved peace and stability and the UN office to monitor Burundi’s internal situation is no longer needed.

Ugandan police confirmed that at least 37 people have been killed in protests that broke out after opposition leader Bobi Wine was arrested on November 18. Wine was released today after being charged with disobeying covid19 pandemic rules that limit the size of election rallies to less than 200 people. Wine accuses President Yoweri Museveni of being a dictator and says Museveni must retire. The election is scheduled for January 14, 2021.

November 19, 2020: Congo declared that its Ebola virus epidemic in western Equateur province has ended. There have been no new cases since the end of September. The Equateur outbreak began June 1. Equateur borders the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville) that is on the northern bank of the Congo River.

November 18, 2020: Ugandan national police reported that after opposition political leader Bobi Wine was arrested, riots broke out in Kampala, the capital, and the cities of Jinja and Masaka. Kizza Besigye, a senior opposition leader, claimed that the police and military had killed several dozen people.

November 17, 2020: In eastern Congo (North Kivu province) ADF gunmen belonging to this Ugandan Islamist rebel group killed 35 people. Six were killed during an attack on a village near Beni, the provincial capital. An army patrol discovered another 29 bodies in Virunga National Park. It appeared the victims were “executed en masse” by the ADF.

November 16, 2020: The UN announced that several hundred CAR (Central African Republic) refugees have returned from Congo. The refugees were supposed to have been repatriated earlier this year but the border was closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

November 16, 2020: Zambia has officially defaulted on its major loans. The default was effective November 13. Zambia owes a lot of money, especially to China. African diplomats speculate that China will demand access to Zambia’s mineral deposits since the country cannot repay the billions of dollars it borrowed.

November 13, 2020: In eastern Congo (Maniema Province) violent attacks near Mount Namoya gold mine (Salamabila area) have increased throughout 2020. The attacks were described as being carried out by armed men – indicating a militia of some sort. The province, and its legal and illegal gold mining operations have attracted this sort of violence for years.

November 12, 2020: The UN voted to extend the CAR (Central African Republic) peacekeeping operation for another year. Officially the mandate will run through November 15, 2021. The CAR peacekeeping force is authorized 11,650 military personnel and 2,080 police personnel.

November 11, 2020: Angolan police fired on a peaceful protest in the capital, Luanda, killing one civilian. The police also used tear gas on the crowd of around 2,000. Demonstrators were demanding jobs and local elections in 2021. Civil society groups began protesting the government earlier this year. A major protest occurred in October. Police broke that protest up and arrested 100 demonstrators.

November 7, 2020: Zambia is on the verge of defaulting on its international debt. A major payment on $3 billion in bonds is due this month. Zambia is the second-biggest copper producer in Africa and China is a major buyer. China is also a major international creditor. It is unclear just how much money Zambia owes international creditors. Estimates run from $12 to $15 billion.

November 4, 2020: In northeastern Congo (Ituri province) five soldiers were killed and five wounded when CODECO (Cooperative for the Development of the Congo) rebels attacked their camp about ten kilometers from the provincial capital, Bunia.

October 30, 2020: In eastern Congo (North Kivu province) ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) took responsibility for an attack on a rural Christian church. At least 18 people were murdered in the attack and the church was set on fire.

October 29, 2020: The U.S. announced it will resume military cooperation with Congo. In the past U.S.-Congo military cooperation primarily consisted of the U.S. supplying military trainers and training support. The U.S. ended this military support in 1990 when Congolese government security forces massacred student protestors in in the southern city of Lubumbashi (Katanga province). Dictator Mobutu Sese Seko was in power at the time. According to the U.S., Congo’s current president Felix Tshisekedi has agreed to combat people smuggling and intends to hold the military accountable for criminal actions. The U.S. wants Congo to “sever ties” with corrupt army officers.

October 26, 1010: In eastern Congo (South Kivu province) soldiers have driven Burundian FNL (National Forces of Liberation) rebels from their base after a three-day battle. In another South Kivu operation, the army fought CNRD (National Resistance Council for Democracy) rebels. These two operations left 27 rebels and three soldiers dead. Four soldiers and an undetermined number of rebels were wounded. The rebels usually try to take their wounded with them when they retreat. Wounded rebels will often talk freely if captured and given medical treatment.




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